So, the Heat lost Game 1 of the NBA Finals last night. Kevin Durant went nuts in the fourth quarter (17 of his 36 points) and LeBron didn’t go for 45/15/5 again, so you know what that means: LEBRON’S A CHOKER LEBRON’S A CHOKER FEED THE “LEBRON IS A CHOKER” BEAST FEED IT PANDER TO THE STUPIDS FEED IT OR DIE FEED IT OR DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE:
We expect people to overanalyze LeBron’s fourth-quarter performances at this point. (It’s part of why our Dan Fogarty hopes the Heat win the title, so people stop overanalyzing things like this.) But you know what? Right on, graphic. LeBron did score seven fourth-quarter points after 23 over the first three quarters. If he were any kind of prime-time performer, he would have matched his average output by scoring 7.7 points in the fourth! Oh, what, he’s not sure how to score 7/10 of one point? Just proves why he’ll never be as great as Jordan.
OK, so it’s very possible that whoever was charged with created the above graphic realized it was dumb, that they sat there muttering “I hate my life I hate my life how did my dream of working in sports turn into this.” Or maybe it really was just an exercise in trolling, and they did it to get a reaction. If so: nice job. You got us. But if not:
Stop forcing the belief upon us that LeBron James had a terrible fourth quarter when he did not actually have a terrible fourth quarter.
Was his fourth quarter spectacular? No. He only shot 2-for-6, after all (the only part of the graphic that makes some semblance of sense, though even that’s a bit of a stretch since six shots is a tiny sample size). Was his fourth quarter as good as Durant’s? No, not even close – Durant was fantastic and deserves tons of credit for the way he stepped up. But if you’re going to criticize LeBron, criticize him for settling for jumpers that weren’t falling at various points in the game, or maybe, maybe suggest he should have asked for the challenge of guarding Durant full-time.
But don’t criticize him for putting up statistics at a rate that matched the rate at which he put up those same statistics over the rest of the game – a game in which he posted 30 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and four steals. If the game’s result were reversed and LeBron’s stat line were identical in every respect, everyone would be talking about how he came up big. But instead it was “beat the same LeBron angle into the ground” time. Please, whatever it takes, make that time end soon. Make LeBron stop turning everyone into idiots.